Lockheed Martin is confident that it can contain the price of the Lockheed Martin/Boeing F-22 Raptor air-superiority fighter, despite warnings from the US Department of Defense (DoD) that the US Air Force faces additional costs running into billions of dollars.

F-22 programme manager Tom Burbage says cost-cutting initiatives that have been implemented will keep the advanced fighter's overall cost in check.

Concerns over cost escalation emerged in a Pentagon review, which claimed that the overrun could be as high as $17 billion. Another DoD assessment suggested the USAF's projected $48 billion production plan could end up costing $64 billion in a worst-case scenario.

A USAF Joint Cost Estimating Team (JET) reported in December 1996 that the F-22 programme could overrun its budget by $15 billion - $2 billion in development and $13 billion in production.

The USAF and the contractor team maintain that they will eliminate the $13 billion in production overruns through production improvements and multi-year procurement. The development shortfall is to be covered by delaying the numbers of F-22s being produced.

Burbage stands behind the JET estimate, and says that the $64 billion figure does not take into account any of the cost-reduction measures in place, saying: "We did not sign up for unconstrained cost growth."


Source: Flight International